Tens of thousands gather for three-wave protests against Ma
The China Post news staffTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Responding to tens of thousands of protesters rallying in three waves of demonstrations yesterday, the Presidential Office said that the government will continue reasonable communication with various civic organizations and effectively respond to public complaints via respective public agencies.
September 30, 2013, 12:05 am TWN
The massive protests were staged in Taipei with demonstrators venting against government policies. Participants also called for President Ma Ying-jeou's resignation.
A spokesman at the Presidential Office said in the evening that the government respects the protesters' constitutional rights to hold rallies and air their views.
He said Ma fully understands and respects the appeals of different groups.
The government will maintain ongoing dialogue with civic groups while instructing relevant public agencies to find solutions to the issues raised by protesters based on the principles of legality, rationality, and sensibility, he added.
The protests climaxed in the evening as organizers estimated that more than 50,000 demonstrators converged on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office to protest what they considered the government's administrative inefficiency and insensitive policies which they claimed recently caused the suicides of a farmland owner and a taxi driver.
Their complaints also covered upcoming energy price hikes, freezing of wages and infighting between the executive and legislative branches.
Organizers distributed slogan posters and public letters that will be mailed to the Presidential Office to urge Ma to voluntarily step down on the grounds that he has failed to uphold his pledges to promote reform and social justice.
Protesters said Ma should resign, although his approval ratings recovered to 20 percent following earlier lows of around 10 percent.
Some criticized the wiretapping of a phone line in the Legislative Yuan by the Special Investigation Division (SID), which the SID said was a mistake.
In light of the phone-tapping controversy, lawmakers with the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have called for the scrapping of the SID, which was established with the special mission of cracking down on corruption among ranking government officials and influential political figures.
The Taipei City Government dispatched 300 police officers to maintain peace at the generally orderly public gathering.
Earlier yesterday, a group of demonstrators, dressed in white, gathered on Aiguo West Road near the intersection with Boai Road and marched eastward to the presidential residence.
Organized online, the event drew nearly 1,000 young demonstrators who expressed dissatisfaction and anger toward Ma and his administration.
In the afternoon, members of workers organizations gathered at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall on Section 4 of Zhongxiao East Road for another mass demonstration.
They rebuked unpopular government policies like increasing electricity rates and fuel prices as well as flawed financial reforms.
Victims of factory owners who illegally shut down their manufacturing operations criticized the government's inability in helping them recover back pay owed to them while keeping the employees' wages basically unchanged in favor of businesspeople and big enterprises.
The ruling KMT was forced to postpone its national congress of party members originally scheduled for yesterday at the memorial hall which was built in honor of Dr. Sun Yat-sen.